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MusicUnderFire | February 13, 2016

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Spotlight: This Week’s 10 Most Notable Artists – 8/18/12


So….Hey. I know was MIA all last week, but look at what I got you: new music, good music, and cool music…No? I’m just gonna treat this like a guy and pretend this never happened.


1. California Wives - “Marianne”/Art History

Okay, I confess: this is pure vanity! Well, not pure vanity, but having my name as the title of this chillicious track did spur me on. You know what else tickled my fancy? The peachy charm of the single from this Chicago based band. Besides, I always have mad respect for a person, like lead vocalist Jayson Kramer, who can turn their back on what they know (a career in medicine) to do what they love (, duh). If you’re gonna do that and cause your family to have a stroke, it better be good. Well, take a deep breath la familia, your boy has done well. “Marianne” is a light, youthful sound meant for summer nights and snowy winter play (there goes that music vid making process). Did I mention a free download? Now gets on that track like an apple to a Mac! Oh yeah, that’s how I roll. Art History is out September 4th.


2. Poor Moon - “Birds”/Poor Moon

Poor Moon is a quartet from Seattle. They’re basically all brothers; Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott are longtime friends, and Ian and Petter Murray are literally siblings. With a bond like that, it’s only right that they make a cohesive track of awesomeness. “Birds” is a loving, nostalgic piece. It has an old school Ricky Nelson-meets-the Beach Boys coolness with a more modern Coldplay harmonization, Twilight feel (hate on the series all you want, but the soundtracks are awesome, gosh darn it!), plus it’s so incredibly romantic…le sigh! The simple, but charming rattle and rift of the instrumental is beautifully blended with the soft crooning of the tender vocals. Poor Moon is out now.


3. Sera Cahoone – “Naked”/Deer Creek Canyon

She sounds like Iron and Wine, but looks like Alanis Morisette. This country folk crooner is another Seattle musician worthy of an ear. Sera, however, was actually born and raised in Colorado, where her dear old dad sold dynamite. Errr…Ok, well Sera traded in the TNT for a little guitar TLC, and found her calling as a well-seasoned musician. “Naked” is a single from her upcoming album Deer Creek Canyon and it shares an intimate vulnerability to, of course, love. “‘Til it’s right/For now/I don’t want you around” Sera sings, her voice haunting and reluctant. We’ve all been there, Sera, we’ve all been there. Deer Creek Canyon is set to release September 25th.


4. Imagine Dragons - “Pantomime”/It’s Time

Oh.My.God. If you don’t know Imagine Dragons, you should be ashamed! But that’s why I’m here; to introduce you to the amazing artists out there doing their thing and doing it well. Hmm…That felt strange, but I’ll keep it there. Anyway, Imagine Dragons gets a lot of love here. “Pantomime” is not a new track, but their year old baby still feels fresh. The thing I love most about Imagine Dragons is that their signature sound is not having a signature. They have so much of an edge because they dabble in so many musical genres. “Pantomime” makes me want to whip out my Prince albums and two step in some purple rain. It also makes me think I have some Michael Jackson moves that I truly don’t. The next track you pick up from these guys can elicit a completely different emotion. Now that’s good stuff. Despite the mentioning of an oldie, keep an eye and an ear out for a newbie: their official debut Night Visions on September 4th.


5. Kúra – “Gógó”/MULTICOLOR

Kúra is a Denmark band with a strong lead vocalist and a unique ear for the layout of their tracks. “Gógó” is a track from their album MULTICOLOR. What’s most intriguing about this track is the popping flair of the electro-pop mix.  The strength of the female vocals paired with the lyrics leaves you in the dance club mix of dreams. “Magnetic fields streaming through the endless sky,” she, Fanney Ósk Þórisdóttir, sings. Her voice reminds me of a hummingbird. Maybe because of its tremble and height, but nevertheless, the beat shifts and I can only look forward to the next level of sound. Despite the names being way out of element (Brynjar Bjarnfoss and Rasmus Liebst handling production, vocals, and guitar), I’m more than infatuated with the sound.


6. Marques Toliver – “Deep In My Heart”/Mahogany Sessions

“There’s power in your sorrow, you’ll see tomorrow; take you places you don’t know…” Oh, Mr. Toliver, how beautiful is your soul? I love artists who love what they’re saying. I love when I feel it in my chest like I wrote it myself. Marques Toliver is a violinist and singer/songwriter from Florida. He’s a YouTube find that I will forever be grateful for. You cannot deny the sheer talent of this kid and the depth of his music. Even though he cannot be properly categorized because of his acapella style, classical instrumentals, and neosoul influences, I will place him in the genre of awesome sauce. I really would rather stream a song, but his videos are worth the upload and reload. To watch that voice and sound come out of his human form just seems odd because his words are simply heavenly…Oh yeah, you can add some wine to all my cheese. Check him out, little chickens!


7. Michael Kiwanuka – “Home Again”/Home Again

Michael Kiwanuka is taking music by storm. This acoustic folk singer is sprinkled with southern charm, BB King soul, and a lullaby. His voice is as soothing as it is awakening. We have to thank Britain, yet again, for this talent bomb. I shake my scones at you, England! Nevertheless, if you enjoy the likes of Van Morrison, Otis Redding, and Liam Bailey, Michael may be just who you’re looking for. His Home Again album is out now.


8. Steffaloo – “If You Were My Baby”/Would You Stay

Steph Thompson is a soft voiced artist based out in Los Angeles who delves into a meditative state with this track. “If You Were My Baby” is featured on her debut full length album Would You Stay, which, according to her signer Mush Records, is “a meditation on beauty and loss that uses the tape-hiss ambience and reverb drenched vocals of a classic bedroom recording to capture isolation and heartache in simple, yet near-perfect songs.” I can’t blame them for strongly representing such a carefully crafted piece. It’s a warranted praise that earns this artist her place in the music world. “If you were my baby, baby/the sun would shine brighter/if you were my baby, baby/the stars would never die” and then the beat races like a full heart. Gah! I love it. Would You Stay is set to release October 23rd.


9. Love You Moon - “Tonight You Belong to Me”/MDB Recordings

Matthew Embree’s got himself a solo project in the form of Love You Moon. This artist has spent a decade in music, most notably as front man to RX Bandits. Love You Moon is a light hearted acoustic/folk take on sound and Matthew is captivating audiences with his innate ability to please the ears and mind. I cannot deny myself the island escapade that erupts in my heart when I play this sound. Sinfully delicious and divinely sweet, “Tonight You Belong to Me” makes me want to sway in my lover’s arms or layout in a sandy hammock. Whatever the case, it’s my jam. It does help that Pebaluna is about Matt’s venture and they’ll all be here in Philly at Kung Fu Necktie  September 9th. Yes, this is my happy place.


10. Brother/Sister - “Opossum”/Brother/Sister

Brother/Sister are an upcoming band full of home recordings and love. They (Sasha and Theo) met on a play date. Sasha is white and Theo is black. They are who make Brother/Sister and they make it so good. Their indie-pop rock has a country twang and a chiming bass. I cannot help back clap my hands as the beat raises and the tambourine taps. It’s an all-around good feeling with hugely successful vocals that pull you in without overpowering. It’s what being a duo is all about: merging into a single unit of amazing. Give a listen and keep an eye out on a debut album from these unsigned artists.


To Chris- Agreed!Good to see some urban kids doing cool alternative music, some of this "Rap" stuff gets old after while. Good post on Weapons of Audio and awesome write up Mariane!


Thanks, Jenn! Can I even call you "Jenn?" At any rate, I agree with that comment on rap, but that's why I see some music as hip-hop and some as just rap. It's an art form that's misused and misunderstood, I think. Thanks again!


Sera Cahoone has a fantastic voice. Great pick and great list Mariane!

Chris London
Chris London

Great picks Marianne! Thanks for doing the hard work and finding some really choice pieces, especially love Imagine Dragons and Kura


Thanks, Chris! The hardest part is picking just ten, but it's always a pleasure to share the musical wealth! :)